Grading the Miami Dolphins against the San Diego Chargers

 

asalguero@MiamiHerald.com

Quarterback

Ryan Tannehill still makes questionable decisions. Running out of bounds with 2:08 to play instead of merely falling down? Throwing an ill-advised pass in the first quarter that was intercepted after throwing another ill-advised pass that wasn’t intercepted merely because the defender dropped it? But overall, Tannehill had a solid day. He completed 22 of 35 and his running (four times for 21 yards) was a welcome new wrinkle. GRADE: B-.

Receivers/tight ends

Charles Clay came to play. He not only got open and caught the ball cleanly, but also he then broke multiple tackles. Brian Hartline had a tough day, dropping one and fumbling once (although it was erased by penalty). Mike Wallace was open multiple times deep, but poor throws were the difference between him having a monster day and a four-catches-for-39-yards day. Rishard Matthews continues to play as if he belongs. GRADE: B.

Offensive line

Sam Brenner did great work as a last-minute starter. He yielded a sack, but he’s a rookie starting his first game. Nate Garner was excellent filling in for the ill Mike Pouncey. And Tyson Clabo had a good day. Right guard John Jerry had a couple of penalties and gave up a sack, but he had a fine crack-back block on a Tannehill run. Bryant McKinnie continues to be a left tackle upgrade over Jonathan Martin. GRADE: B.

Defensive line

Well, they played in spurts and there were too many missed tackles and runs that broke loose. But Olivier Vernon and Cameron Wake feasted on the San Diego tackles. Wake had a sack and two tackles for losses. Vernon had a sack, two hurries and a tackle for loss. Jared Odrick had a long string of excellent games broken last week, but he started new one this day. He had a sack. GRADE: B.

Linebackers

Dannell Ellerbe wasn’t nearly as active as usual and as a result his tackles were way down rather than leading the group. Philip Wheeler had some difficult moments in coverage, which is supposed to be his strong suit, but he didn’t miss as many tackles as he has in the past. The Dolphins continue to sub in youngsters Jonathan Freeny and Jelani Jenkins and manage the snaps for injured Koa Misi. GRADE: C.

Secondary

Brent Grimes picked up his third interception of the season and had generally tight coverage, although he gave up two receptions. Dimitri Patterson cannot stay on the field. He started despite dealing with a groin injury that has plagued him all year, but he could not go past the second quarter and that forced Nolan Carroll into the game. Carroll dropped an interception and yielded a couple of receptions. Reshad Jones, playing near the line of scrimmage, had five tackles. GRADE: C+.

Special teams

Nothing great to see here other than the continued excellence of punter Brandon Fields. His 61-yard punt flipped the field and the momentum at a vital time. Kicker Caleb Sturgis connected on two short attempts. GRADE: C+.

Coaching

The play-calling that led to the Chargers getting the ball back with 2:08 to play was questionable. Despite this, the Dolphins came out engaged and enthused, which was a stark contrast to the previous week against Tampa Bay. GRADE: C+.

Overall

They have won two of three without Jonathan Martin. GRADE: B.

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